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My friends, I have been truly blessed.

For 2 weeks I have been looking forward to this day like a 5 year old starts looking forward to next Christmas on December 26th...The excitement building with each passing day, until finally the day arrives.

A little over 2 weeks ago I opened a PM from CJ in which he stated that he did indeed plan to stop in my little dirtwater town, in the center of quite possibly the most boring state in the union to ride through, as he and Red traveled on their first touring ride since that stupid forest rat in Michigan nearly ended their motorcycling career.

Yesterday, after looking at the radar, I knew that from where they had landed for the night, and what they were rolling into, they wouldn't even make Nebraska. A little disappointing, but understandable. The real disappointing part was that Gina was scheduled to leave for Tulsa for her next treatment today, and when I spoke to CJ, I had to break the news. :(

Today, the day finally arrived. I woke up this morning, and the first thing I did was check the radar. We had some pretty nasty storms marching across Nebraska last night, and I wanted to know if any were holding on so I could send CJ a warning before he set out. I saw a clear radar screen! YESSSSSSS!

When I came home for lunch, first thing I did...you guessed it...checked the radar screen, then pulled Streets & Trips up and calculated Laramie to Kearney, and guestimating a departure time for them, figured they should be just about passing Ogalala, NE (which, oddly enough, is where the 84 Aspy I just acquired is currently sitting, waiting for her new daddy to bring her home). At the same time, Gina and I are discussing appointment times versus driving times, and we figured that there was no reason for her to leave for Tulsa this afternoon since she didn't have an appointment until Wed afternoon...she could stay, meet CJ and Red, catch a nap, then roll out early early in the morning and still make her 14:00 appointment.

19:24 hours my cell phone rings and it's CJ. They've pitched camp for the first time on this trip in a little park just south of town. "We'll be there in 20 minutes". He told me what site number they were in, and I laughed and said "Well, the park isn't all that big, and there aren't that many ST's around Kearney, NE...I'm sure I won't have any problem finding you" What I didn't do, was directly state that Gina was still home and would be riding out with me. ;)

We hit the park, and the kid at the gate points at the map and says "36 is somewhere back there"...thanks for the help pal. Roll into the park and start looking. 3/4 of the way around, I'm fighting looking directly into the sun and Gina's using me as a sun-screen, she chirps up "There they are! On the left!" a tree slips me into the shade, and there she sits...CJ's silver mistress...the Wongwing. And directly behind it are the 2 people I've been anxious for 2 weeks to meet.

Words escape me from here. I can honestly say that a person could not meet 2 nicer, more genuine people. Camera momentarily forgotten, we hadn't had dinner, and neither had they. We decided to hit a little place in town called USA Steak Buffet. Not the greatest food on earth, but definately not bad, and all you can eat of whatever you may wish. I'd already told CJ that I was buying dinner, and he made it a point to tell me that it wasn't necessary. I had to point out that if the guys I rode with regularly found out that I allowed a visiting Vet to pay for his own meal, there'd be hell to pay...besides, the forum would never allow me to live it down either.

While eating, and conversing about as easily as could be, we talked the waitress into snapping a picture or 2 for us.



From left to right: Myself, the love of my life, the fabulous Miss Gina, The love of CJ's life, the lovely Mrs. Red, and CJ himself.

During dinner I offered the use of my computer and any services they may need at the house if they cared to stop over before retreating to camp. But I do understand that it was getting pretty late in the evening, they were pretty tired from the day, and they politely declined the offer saying they'd catch up with the forum the next time storms chased them into a motel. However, we did manage to catch a couple more pics in the parking lot.







My friends, Gina and I are truly blessed. Did I mention that already? Thought so. But it's the truth. I have always been one to be a bit leery when meeting someone I've only known online for the first time. I know as well as anyone that a person can be anyone they wish to be from behind the safety of a keyboard and a DSL modem. But Mel and Sandy are a class act from the ground up, and are precisely what we would expect them to be.

If you have the opportunity to meet these two fine folks, you would be a fool to pass it up.

Mel, Sandy...the honor was mine, and I thank you both for stopping in on your trip.
 

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:action::clapper::clapper:Looking forward to more meetings and wonderful news:clapper::clapper::action:Ride safe
 

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wow mike, great pics! im sure there will be more, but those hit our hearts! cuz, red, you two are the creme of the crop! :clapper::clapper::clapper:hollerin atcha! rick
 

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meeting forum members is always a great time, sounds like every one had a great time
 

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Reminds me of when Flyone and his lovely daughter graced me with a visit on the way thru Knoxville. What a wonderful time you all must have had! I hope their journey brings them safely to Knoxville. I plan to have a new rear tire mounted on "Raymond" Thursday morning so I can safely ride with them. Thanks for sharing a most rewarding moment with all of us!

Bernie
 

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:cooler:. The emoticon says it all. And that food looks darn good from here too.JR
 

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Good report and great pics Mike! I can't wait for them to get down here on the southern end of the BRP either. Quite a few of us down here that want to meet them.
 

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Many thx for sharing. I love it when a plan comes together.
 

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Awesome. Thanks for sharing.
 

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Something else I just thought of this morning as well.

You all are seeing the first picture of Gina allowed to be publicly displayed in which she isn't wearing a do-rag since she lost her mid-back length hair to chemotherapy...It just occurred to me that she didn't kitsch about it at all when I posted it. :)
 

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Mike, The pictures of your lovely wife were great! My prayers will be with her for her continued recovery. I'm sure you will be framing them and placing them in an area of prominance in your home. It was great to see you all together enjoying each other's company. My good friend "Red Neck" (Ed Wright) from the UK is another one of our great forum members I would like to meet one day. Hopefully he will come to the U.S. to visit his brother and I will have the opportunity to meet him. The radar screen looks as though CJ and Red will have clear skys for today. Their trek continues and we are following them with anticipation.

Bernie
 

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She looks beautiful Mike. Pictures tell a thousand words. I commend you both.:clapper:
 

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Great ....I too one day in not the too distant future would like to met with not only CJ, and Red, but also a host of the other forum members.....Great pictures....Give Gina our prayers .....

Claude....
 

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MDKramer wrote:
If you have the opportunity to meet these two fine folks, you would be a fool to pass it up.
I couldn't agree more!! Great people these two!

Glad you all had a good time and were able to share a leisurely meal together. :clapper:

Safe travels on your continuing journey CJ & Red.

John
 

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Great report. Enjoyed reading it.

Luv the vest...bet you're proud of that!

DeDub :18white:
 

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yep--- like bagmster done said just let us know , when you get close.
 

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Hey Mike, great of you to post those pictures. We know the Chemo thing all too well in my family as cancer seems to be a big part of my siblings life style. It takes a lot of courage to battle that stuff. Cudos to you and your wife.

As for your state being one of the most boring to ride through, I have to agree. And this coming from someone who lives in ND :cheeky1:

Really, I think Nebraska is very interesting. I will say that most of highway 83 from Valentine through Kansas is maybe the most boring stretch of road I've been on with the exception of part of 85 through Wyoming and up through a flat stretch of ND without even so much as a tree to look at.

Glad you had a great visit with CJ and Red. The pics were great. CJ's bike looks like just like a BMW. Pretty.
 

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Great report Mike. Prayers for Gina's continuing battle - she looks great. Thanks for sharing the stories and the pictures. Ride on CJ and Red!!! Happy Trails!!!
 
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